Dysvascular amputee rehabilitation: the role of continuous noninvasive cardiovascular monitoring during physical therapy

E. J. Roth*, S. L. Wiesner, D. Green, Y. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recognition of cardiac problems and their impact on the treatment of dysvascular amputees is important during rehabilitation because the energy demands and cardiac work loads of functional activities are substantially greater when performed by persons with amputation than when performed by control subjects. For this reason, monitoring the cardiovascular response to therapeutic exercise might be expected to enhance the medical and rehabilitative management of dysvascular amputees. In the present study, 31 amputees with peripheral vascular disease underwent continuous noninvasive dynamic cardiovascular monitoring during an initial physical therapy session. The sample had a mean age of 65 yr. There were 20 females. Twenty patients had unilateral below knee amputation. Fifty-two percent had a preamputation history of cardiac disease and six experienced major cardiovascular complications during rehabilitation. After a mean acute hospitalization of 20 days and a mean rehabilitation stay of 36 days, 11 patients were walking independently and 25 were discharged to home. During the monitored physical therapy session, patients acieved a mean maximum heart rate of 113 beats/min, mean maximum blood pressure of 159/81, mean maximum heart rate-pressure product of 14,546, and mean percent of age-predicted maximal heart rate of 73%. Seventeen (55%) patients demonstrated abnormalities during the monitored session, four of whom had no prior history of heart disease. These changes consisted predominantly of ST-T segment abnormalities, but also included exercise-induced arrhythmias and decreases in blood pressure. Patients with a history of heart disease demonstrated significantly more abnormalities during the monitored session than did those without a history of heart disease. The positive predictive value of the combination of the heart disease history and results of the cardiac monitoring procedure was greater than the positive predictive value of either factor alone. The cardiovascular monitoring procedure provided useful information in a convenient and noninvasive manner, and it can be adapted for use in a variety of clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990


  • Amputees
  • Arterial occlusive diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Electrocardiography
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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